Eurovision Fan of the Week - Ava from Sydney
Fan of the Week is an opportunity to celebrate one of our wonderful community members who love Eurovision as much as we do. This week, we meet Ava (@vogelmeister22) from Sydney.
Despite only discovering the Contest in 2018, she really knows her stuff! So much so, she even penned a university essay about Eurovision that it's far to assume her tutor still isn't over.
Thank you for being our Aussievision fan of the week! Tell us a little about yourself, Ava..
Guten Tag! I’m Ava and I come from Australia, specifically Sydney. I am currently doing my BA majoring in Modern History, and am in my third year. Uh, what’s interesting about me? I wrote a book at age 14, and I still love writing and find myself dabbling in it a lot. Unfortunately that book will never leave my laptop. I also am a huge theatre nerd, I love musical theatre but I can’t actually sing so I mainly stick to being in straight plays or just watching people who can sing.
I absolutely love both Germany and the Netherlands, I went to Germany in 2017 and fell in love. I have a Dutch friend who has assisted me in falling in love with the Netherlands too. She also assisted in me finding the Dutch game show “Wie is de Mol” which is probably the only TV event asides from Eurovision that I look forward to every year- I enjoy a good game full of trusting absolutely no one. One year I guessed who ‘de Mol’ was via dream and I haven’t let it go since.
Oh, and I like Eurovision. Whatever that means. But only a small amount.
*searches Book Depository of "Ava from Sydney"*
How and when did you discover Eurovision?
I have always been a theatre kid, always one for the dramatics. In a way, getting into Eurovision was almost definitely going to happen to me at some point. I maintain it was predestined from the moment I learned how to work an iPod as a kid and fell in love with ABBA.
I first heard of Eurovision in around 2012 when all the girls in my year entered the local eisteddfod with a dance to Zaleilah - we were struggling to find a song and my teacher just put “Eurovision 2012” into the search bar. Sadly, that dance was full of so much favouritism, as well as the principal who choreographed it just not liking me, that it left a really bad taste in my mouth, and sadly that taste extended to Eurovision.
Fast forward to the year of 2018, where I was sitting in art class, and a girl kind of slid over my way and went, "Psst, Eurovision is on, my mum gets super into it, and here’s the Czech Republic’s song. Do you want to hear it?”
Me, being me, said yes. In truth, I was probably looking for a distraction since my artwork was not turning out, but after that we watched a few more of the 2018 songs, and we all know how it ends. From that moment on I was hooked. I had just been to Germany that Summer (European Winter), so I was mainly curious about Germany. What were Germany sending, when did they last win, etc. It’s almost a wonder why 'Satellite' is my favourite winner! Obviously, I looked into Australia too. While I didn’t watch live in 2018, I had already begun doing even just the smallest of research on the contest, which was very much planting the seeds of what was to become a love for Eurovision.
In the lead-up to May 2019, I found myself looking forward to the event, and like the year before, looked at the acts with the girl from my art class who introduced me to Eurovision.
May 18th, 2019. I woke up early to watch live for the first time. And I have never looked back. ~Mikolas has awoken feelings in all of us, what can I say? (Mark)
For someone relatively new to the contest, I'm told you know a lot about its history. How did you study up on Eurovision so quickly?
I will confess the further back you go into Eurovision history, the rustier my knowledge gets! However, when I like something, I start to make it my mission to know lots of things about it instead of surface level knowledge. I mainly did this through sifting through compilations of winners past, lots and lots of joke entries (I was in Year 12 at the time so I really needed something I could just laugh at), picking out my favourites, and reading through the Wikipedia page. I also studied up by reading fun facts on the contest and looking deeply into those that just fascinated me. I was just hooked, and the more knowledge I had, the better. And most of the time, it’s enough to impress the average non Eurofan.
While I knew a lot of contest history before this, my Eurovision magnum opus happened in 2021. I actually ended up picking a unit at Uni called 20th Century Europe as part of my Modern History major. The instructions for my final paper? Write about anything to do with 20th Century Europe. Well, I instantly sent a message off to my tutor and low and behold, I probably ended up writing the most iconic essay I will ever hand in in my university career: "What is the impact of the Eurovision Song Contest on European identity in late 20th century Europe?"
Unfortunately, the marker didn’t appreciate it as much as my friends and family did and started explaining the Big Five rule to me. One of my biggest university regrets happens to be not arguing that mark, but at the time I didn’t want to sabotage what was already a good mark to most people, but a sad mark to me who was literally writing on my passion topic.
Who is your favourite Eurovision performance and why?
Oh 'Satellite' by Lena by far. It was one of the first performances I saw, and for that reason, it’s very dear to me. I also confess that yes, the lyrics are a bit weird, but Lena has the right amount of innocence and charm that just make her able to pull it off. It just makes me feel safe and warm, and I know it will always make me feel better after a sad day.
Who was your 2021 winner? What made them the best?
Ohhh! For a long time it was France (Fun fact: I actually sobbed after watching the grand final performance of it due to how beautiful it was) and I still believe it should have won. France really found something special in 'Voilà', and it was clear it would do well from the moment it was selected.
(I can feel the Italy fans breathing down my neck. Don’t hurt me!)
However, personally, while I believe France should have won, my favourite song from 2021 and thus technically my winner, happens to be 'SHUM'. I have always been a fan of a good bop, and 'SHUM' pretty much made me want to put on a long dress and spin around and around and around from the moment I first heard it. It legitimately gave me chills when they did it in Rotterdam, and I was just mesmerised by it. I also just love how Ukraine embraced its culture and sung in their own language. The intense build-up to the long note at the end is perfectly paced and gives me chills- I love a good long build-up. Did I mention that it was the only song in my Spotify wrapped 2021 top ten that wasn’t from Germany or the Netherlands? That’s a big deal for me! Pretty much, I believe in 'SHUM' supremacy.
It’s still early, but any stand-outs in 2022 yet? Are you willing to make a call who’s taking home the trophy?
Any of my friends reading this will call me biased, and maybe I am, but The Netherlands is my current winner. I think if they stage it well, and really showcase S10’s beautiful voice, it could be a real contender. I love the Dutch language. I just find it so warm and beautiful, and really satisfying to listen to. I am so happy AVROTROS are giving it a chance again (especially after 2010!) and maybe, just maybe, Eurovision will go back to the Netherlands in 2023.
Of course I am also a huge fan of France, Ukraine, Italy, and oddly enough, Montenegro. I always have a favourite every year that shocks everyone, even me, and this year it’s Montenegro.
What Aussie artists would you love to see go to Eurovision, and why? What’s a song of theirs you think showcases what they could do at the Contest? I confess I know little about the Australian music scene, even though I have lived here all my life. And I think we are too early in our Eurovision journey to call for a return artist like Dami Im. That said, I know they have tried twice but I really hope Jaguar Jonze gets her moment. I really think something like her song 'CUT' could stand out and make an impact on the Eurovision stage. In the same vein Vera Blue could also do something amazing if she ever decided to pursue Eurovision. Her music is just so cool, and like 'CUT', would defs stand out at Eurovision. 'Regular Touch' and 'Lady Powers' are both just straight up bangers. It’s just the right amount of “different” that could make an impact on Europe.
~ Can we get #JusticeForJaguarJonze trending? (Mark)
If you could pick only three performances to encourage new people to watch Eurovision what would they be?
I think, for me, it will depend on what side of Eurovision they wanted to see. For example, I tried to get my (ex) boyfriend into the contest by showing them We are the Winners by LT United, because I knew they’d enjoy a good joke entry. If they like cultural stuff, maybe SHUM by Go_A. Or if they want to see what amazing music ESC can give us, I would show them Arcade by Duncan Laurence.
Ok, Ava. Hands on buzzers for the rapid-fire round! Which Eurovision song:
Is the best winner? Lena's 'Satellite'! I will never stop loving 'Satellite'!
Has the best live vocal? Ohh so many come to mind! 'Tout L'Univers' because you can hear his passion and emotion and I love it when an artist connects to a song.
Is your favourite Australian entry so far? Kate Miller Heidke - 'Zero Gravity'. What can I say? I’m theatrical.
Was robbed? Oh damn. Uh. 'Pali Sie' by Tulia. 2019 me was sad when I found out this wasn’t in the final.
Is your guilty pleasure? 'Guilty Pleasure' by Mia Dimsic… hahah, just kidding. It’s 'Congratulations' by Silvia Night. I am positive it’s an unironic love at this point in time, to the point where when it charted in last years ESC250 I got fifty texts from my friends going: “YOU DID THIS!”
Is your favourite National Final song (that didn't make it to Eurovision)? 'Monument' by KEiiNO. Shout out to the guy at my concert in Sydney who yelled, "YOU SHOULD HAVE WON!" loudly before they sung 'Monument'.
We know you love Eurovision. But is there anything about Eurovision you DON’T like? Or something you’d change?
There is not really much I can do about this, but there are lots of fans that take the contest too far, especially when you don’t have the same opinions as them. While there have been some opinions that made me go “Ah really?”, with a contest like Eurovision there are so many different songs and not everyone is going to think in the same way you do. For example, not everyone is going to think Turkey deserved to win in 2010 over Lena, simply because their taste aligns more to Lena’s music than MaNga’s. And sometimes, it’s just not worth calling people awful things because they don’t like a song. If people would just let people’s opinions be, the fandom would be a nicer place.
Oh and no more dream team or buying songs from other countries. We have progressed past the need for that, and last year just proves that songs with actual connection to the artist do better.
American Song Contest: Thoughts? Feelings?
I hate that it's happening because I hate Americanisation. For me ASC simply means that Eurovision is the next thing in a long line of things getting Americanised, and that upsets me. I actually really enjoyed that Eurovision was a little inside joke between Europe and Australia that had not been tainted yet by American influence. It was nice that Eurovision was our thing.
I think that it has been partially set up to fail. I really can’t see America letting loose and just poking fun at themselves for one night. Part of the fun of Eurovision is seeing everyone just having a great time and no one takes themselves too seriously. It’s one big giant party at its heart, and I am not sure if Eurovision’s spirit will transfer to the USA. Sorry. Finally, my other reason has to do with viewership. I was taking bets on the fact that a lot of the viewers would consist of really curious Eurovision fans, but with ASC taking place in the same week as Eurovision, I can confidently assert that most Eurovision fans will be too distracted by Eurovision to even care.
~I was totally on the same page until doing some research into the artists and finding them the most diverse bunch in terms of both style and experience/profile. That reminded me of the charming diversity on show at the real-deal Contest. I'm going to give it a burl. (Mark)
Do you have a “Eurovision community” - like, do you connect with fans on Twitter or are there a group of friends you watch the contest with? Or is it something you enjoy doing solo?
Most of my friends from Australia have accepted that ESC is my thing, and as a result, I never really bring it up. They’ll message me if they see something, one of them even learnt the 10 years dance but in truth, I have never really bothered to try and get them into it, sometimes it’s nice to have your own interests. We have other things in common anyway.
However, I do also have friends who like Eurovision. 2020 happened to be my first year at uni, so I was thinking, maybe I’ll meet my Eurovision community here. Yeah, well. It was 2020.
Right after the fateful March 18th, I ended up joining a discord. There were about 7 of us, all from around Europe and Australia and even the USA (I was, in fact, the only Australian, shhh) and we all decided that weekend we would watch 2011 for fun. So somehow, I decided I was going to wake up at 6am and watch Eurovision 2011 with these people whom I had never met. I was crazy. And yet it was one of the most beautiful things that came out of 2020. From us all agreeing we didn’t like the winner that year, to us actually continuing the Saturday night (or Sunday morning) tradition, I can now call some of these people my closest friends who I can come to for things even beyond Eurovision. They’re my found Eurovision family, and I found my group, but not in the way anyone expected. The power of the internet, aye.
Ava, you've been so generous with your time and responses - and finding your Eurovision tribe is a lovely note to leave it on. Wishing you a happy Eurovision 2022. May Germany delight and surprise (though I think it might have to be 2023, sorry!)